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Public Charge

According to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, someone is a “public charge” when they are determined to be likely to rely on government cash assistance programs or long-term care. Public charge determination affects whether or not someone is eligible for lawful permanent residency.

Some leaked papers from the State Department have indicated the Trump administration’s intent to add other benefits, including healthcare and food assistance programs, to the factors considered in public charge determinations. With this policy, the use of healthcare programs like CHIP, even for citizen children, could be used to justify denying lawful permanent residency. This would force families to decide between getting essential services for their families and staying in the US, which will harm the health of the immigrant community. 

For a detailed explanation of public charge and possible changes to the policy, see the report from the National Immigration Law Center.  For more information from the National Immigration Law Center about how you can stay involved, join their mailing list.